Mississauga, Ontario - Woodbridge Group and Intier Automotive Seating have developed seating with polyurethane foam made using bio-based poyols, and will be supplying this 'greener' solution for seating products to Ford for the group's new Escape model.
BioFoam is a bio-based polyurethane foam developed by the Woodbridge Group and validated for manufacturing earlier this year. It uses polyols derived from the oils of various plant seeds, such as soya beans.
Woodbridge said this foam, based on a renewable resource, was engineered to meet existing customer specifications such as no odour and no colour.
Woodbridge and Intier Automotive Seating, an operating unit of Magna International Inc., have partnered to introduce BioFoam seat cushions in the Ford Escape, launching in 2008. The PU foam cushions are being supplied by Woodbridge and the final seat assembly is being carried out by Intier.
Woodbridge developed BioFoam for a number of reasons, according to David Miller, senior vice president of The Woodbridge Group. "One important reason is the fact that eventually we are all going to face a dwindling supply of conventional petro-based chemicals because they will become unacceptably expensive or simply not available," Miller commented, in the company's 19 Nov statement.
"Introducing future products for today's market that address environmental concerns is appealing to Woodbridge, the consumer and the entire industry," the Woodbridge executive added.
"Our organisation has been working on ways to make automotive seating more environment-friendly for several years," said Imtiyaz Syed, vice president of Engineering for Intier Automotive Seating, describing BioFoam as "a good example of a product designed using natural, renewable and sustainable resources."
Currently, BioFoam contains up to 40 percent bio-polyol and has been validated in various uses, including seat cushions, head restraints, armrests, headliners and occupant protection products. Compared to petroleum-based versions, life cycle analysis reveals that this bio-polyol offers less global warming emissions as well as a reduction in total energy demand and in nonrenewable energy use.
Magna International is a highly diversified automotive supplier, active in automotive interior systems, amongst a wide range of other interior, exterior and drivetrain components. It also offers complete vehicle engineering and assembly. Magna's Intier Automotive Seating business develops and makes complete seating systems and mechanisms.
PIC: Dr Hamdy Khalil, Woodbridge's global research and product development director, discussed the company's BioFoam products with Urethanes Technology International at UTECH North America 2007 in Florida in September.